The basic five-paragraph essay structure, which you have possibly used for many times, works extremely well for opinion essays. Be ready to warm up your thinking by evaluating various opinions and reasons to determine which are strong and which are weak to support your point of view.
To write a successful opinion essay, make sure to follow these stages: pre-writing, writing and proofreading.
Before starting to write your essay, you need to gather information to support your opinion. Make sure the evidence you collect matches your stated point of view. While brainstorming and looking for arguments, try to answer these questions to get more ideas:
1. What question should I answer in this assignment?
2. What are those things my audience want to know?
3. What main points should be conveyed in my essay?
4. Are any of the points inconsistent or contradictory?
5. Can I improve any of my arguments?
Look at the list of your ideas and organize them the way you will use in your composition. Decide which ideas are perfect to be mentioned at the beginning, in the main part and at the end of your essay.
Your opinion essay should have an introduction, main body and conclusion.
In the introductory paragraph, you need to present your subject and state your opinion clearly. Make sure it contains a thesis statement – a sentence that summarizes the main point of your paper.
There are several techniques to begin your essay, so you can:
- address the reader directly;
- include a quotation, direct speech, a sentence from a book or play;
- ask a rhetorical question.
In the body of your essay, you need to support your thesis statement. Write several paragraphs, each presenting a separate point of view supported by reasons. Start every paragraph with a topic sentence – the main idea you will back up with arguments. Make sure you don't begin a new paragraph because the one you are writing right now is too long. Begin a new paragraph only when you want to discuss a new idea.
While writing, pay special attention to:
- Tense – normally you should use present tenses in this type of essay.
- Linking words – use different expressions for giving reasons (one reason for ... is / many people believe that... / since... / due to...), expressions opinions (to my mind... / I am convinced that... / from my point of view...), adding ideas (first of all.../ secondly... / what is more, …/ finally... ), etc.
- Formal vocabulary – do not use idioms, phrasal verbs or colloquial expressions.
- Formal punctuation – do not use exclamation marks, parentheses and contractions.
- Citing sources where necessary.
To conclude your opinion essay, write a paragraph where you restate your opinion using different words. You should avoid introducing a new idea or apologizing for your views. However, to make your essay more engaging, you can end with a warning, ask a provocative question or suggest consequences.
When you complete your essay, evaluate different aspects to make sure that your work is just excellent:
1. Grammar – make sure you use the same tense throughout the essay.
2. Vocabulary – check whether you use linking words and avoid slang.
3. Spelling and capitalization – check if all the words are written correctly.
In addition, make sure you do not present your ideas using the lists. After all, this is an opinion essay, not a shopping list.
Done right, your opinion essay will be an outstanding piece of writing. Follow the tips above and take your essay writing to the new heights!
Paragraph One: Introduction
Three reasons for my opinion
Paragraph Two: Develops the first reason by giving examples
Develops the second reason, giving facts and statistics to support the statement.
Develops third reason, giving an example
Paragraph Five: Conclusion
Restatement of thesis
Summary of reasons
Why You Should Vaccinate Your Kids
sample essay for student use by Trudy Morgan-Cole
Since Edward Jenner introduced the first successful smallpox vaccine by injecting an eight-year-old boy with cowpox pus in 1796, vaccines have been an important part of public health care around the world (“Edward Jenner”). Yet today, many parents choose not to vaccinate their children. Because vaccines are widely supported by research, have few side effects, and have proven successful in halting the spread of disease, I believe it is important that all parents continue to vaccinate their children.
All major health organizations, including the Centres for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, recommend vaccination. The value of vaccination is supported by research from around the world, and researchers are constantly working to improve the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Epidemiologists, the scientists whose job is to study the outbreak of disease, all recommend vaccination.
Many parents worry about the safety of vaccines. While side effects do occur, they are usually minor, like redness or swelling around the site of an injection. In Canada, only about one in a million doses of vaccine leads to serious side effects (“Fact and Fiction”). The most famous study linking vaccines to autism, one which got many parents worried about vaccination, has been proven false and the doctor who conducted the study has had his medical license taken away (Triggle).
Around the world, increased vaccination leads to better public health. Diseases like smallpox and polio which once killed and disabled millions of people are virtually unknown today thanks to immunization programs. Yet in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Taliban discourage immunization, rates of polio are on the rise again (Nordland).
If and when you have children, please get them vaccinated. The risks are minimal and you’ll not only be following the best advice of medical science and protecting your own child from disease; you’ll be helping in the fight to eradicate infectious diseases in your community and around the world.
“Edward Jenner (1749-1823),” BBC History: Historic Figures. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/jenner_edward.shtml
“Immunization Fact and Fiction,” Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/iyc-vve/fic
Nordland, Rod, “After Year of Decline, PolioCases in Afghanistan Triple in a Year.” The New York Times, Jan. 17, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/world/asia/after-years-of-decline-polio-cases-in-afghanistan-rise.html
Triggle, Nick, “MMR Doctor Struck from Register,” BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8695267.stm